Customers are at the heart of everything we do at Allstate. Through every aspect of our business, we strive to deliver what our customers wanta safer, more secure future for themselves and their families, insured through customized solutions. Not all customers are alike. At Allstate, we've created four distinct business models to serve different groups of customers:
Financial solutions through a trusted advisor
Insurance and financial products are complicated. Customers know their peace of mind and security depend on making the right choices. They need someone they can trust to help them find the right solutions for their unique life situations. The relationship between agency owner and customer is at the heart of our business, and this year we gathered extensive data from customers to help us find ways to reinforce and support
For instance, we have re-designed our compensation system so agency owners are rewarded for good customer service, not just sales volume. We are integrating systems across our entire organization, so agency owners are better able to get involved when their customers file a claim. We are making sure all of our Allstate-branded customers have an agency assigned to them; this year, we connected all Allstate customers previously without a relationship to an Allstate agency owner. We are equipping agency owners with the tools, technology and education they need to be a force for good in customers’ lives.
Meeting ever-evolving household needs
A teenager buys her first car. A newlywed couple moves into their first apartment. A young couple has a first child. Another buys a starter home. Families start saving for their children’s college education. Midlife couples begin to think about retirement. As household needs vary, people need different financial and insurance solutions. We are working on a new approach to our business, one in which our agency owners—and Allstate—are a regular part of their customers’ lives. For instance, our agency owners can now make the Good Hands Repair Network available to customers—even when they don’t have a claim. When a customer’s roof sags, we can help find a contractor. When a customer is in need of assistance with maintenance or prevention work on either an automobile or home, we can help find a quality repair service provider.
Allstate’s House & Home policies allow consumers to choose the amount of coverage they prefer.
Not just paying claims but preventing losses
No one wants to file a claim. Most people prefer to avoid damages to their home or vehicle in the first place. Allstate is committed to fast, fair and easy claim settlement. We also think it’s important to give customers the tools to minimize their exposure to losses. For instance, we offer customized weather alerts to policyholders by text or email, so they know when a storm might be coming. We also provide both prevention tips and maintenance alerts informing our customers of ways to help prevent bad things from happening, along with easy-to-use reminders for when they might need a checkup for their car or home.
Local knowledge about risks
Allstate agents are local, so they have a unique opportunity to add value on behalf of their local customers. We know that one homeowner’s risks are different from those of another policyholder who lives even just a few miles away. While one home might be vulnerable to one type of event, another might have completely different risk exposures. Agents also receive detailed information about the claims filed in their area and, as a result, they understand the specific risks customers face. Allstate agents share that knowledge so customers can protect their most valuable assets.
Making it easier to interact with Allstate
Our customers count on the advice of their agent, so we’re making it easier for our customers to interact with Allstate agency owners. Customers can call 1-800-ALLSTATE any time during business hours, to be connected directly to their agency owner.
Innovation is a critical element of our effort to provide a complete customer experience that emphasizes service, connectedness, safety, preparedness and value. We’re making it easy for people to do business with us anytime, anyway and anywhere they choose with a range of cutting-edge products and services that are connecting consumers to better their lives:
Flexible coverage for specific customer needs
Allstate’s House and Home product provides consumers with much more flexibility and the ability to purchase higher and lower coverage options to arrive at the most competitive rate, and with more pricing points. The product was first launched in 2012 and expanded to 27 states in 2013. Our goal is to introduce House & Home in almost all states, along with expanding online quote capabilities. And, in states where regulatory and market issues don’t allow for Allstate’s House & Home, products are available through North Light Specialty Insurance Company (NLSIC), our excess and surplus lines carrier.
Expanding coverage in high-risk areas
NLSIC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company that offers personal lines property coverage to unique customer segments, including coastal properties in hurricane-, wildfire-, or earthquake-prone regions; high-value homes; remote areas; and risks with prior losses.
Sometimes an Allstate “admitted” carrier cannot offer homeowners’ insurance because of catastrophic exposure and regulatory constraints. NLSIC allows agents to say yes more often, maintain critical presence in property insurance markets, and offer a discount on policies to Allstate auto insurance customers who prefer to bundle their products.
- North Light is financially strong and gives policyholders peace of mind and a variety of choices. It also enables Allstate agents to write and retain customers at adequate rate levels.
- Because it is a surplus lines carrier, there is less state regulation around forms, guidelines and rates, enabling North Light to react quickly to market conditions and changes, and underwrite for unique factors posed by individual risks and circumstances.
In 2013, we expanded access to North Light to three new states, bringing the total number of active states to 33.
Using technology to help customers drive safer
Drivewise, Allstate’s program to reward customers for safe driving, hit a major milestone in 2013, as customers registered more than 1 billion miles driven over the course of about 38 million hours of driving data. The Drivewise program is now available in 30 states. We expect to expand it to an additional 16 states in 2014.
By using Drivewise, Allstate customers can plug customized “telematic” equipment in their car or use a smartphone application that collects feedback on behaviors that include hard braking and high-speed driving. Those who drive safely can receive safe driving rewards. It's one more way in which we share helpful information with customers to make their lives better. For more information about how we protect the data we gather through the Drivewise program, see the data privacy segment of this report below.
Helping customers understand risks
As we continue our transformation into a company that helps people live the good life every day, we are committed to providing solutions that broaden relationships. Homeowners tell us they need and want help understanding and prioritizing the safety and maintenance of their homes. That’s why Allstate is piloting the Home Checkup program, in which a professional completes an in-home review personalized to the customer’s home-care goals, then collaborates with the homeowner to create a customized report—complete with photos and maintenance considerations. We want to help homeowners identify changes they can make in their homes today, helping them prevent big problems tomorrow and potentially lessening their risk of having a claim.
Taking the hassle out of car buying
Through a relationship with TrueCar, Allstate helps consumers get hassle-free savings on their next car purchase by giving them a head start on car shopping and allowing them to negotiate a good price on their own.
Fast, fair and easy claims settlement
Customers who have claims—whether because of a car accident or damage to their homes—are already under stress. They want a claims process that’s fast, fair and easy. At Allstate, we bring all of our resources together to make the customer’s experience as painless as possible. This year we continued this commitment and made significant improvements to our claim-handling process:
The right person with the right skills
In 2013, we began an ambitious project to develop better ways to coordinate our 4,000 field representatives in order to add value any time customers need help; we can connect customers with the person who has the best skill set to serve them. This new approach will fully integrate all relevant members of teams assigned to each customer claim, providing ongoing updates as the claim moves through the processing system. The system allows us to match employees with the appropriate skills to every job, quickly and efficiently. It even works across our product lines.
Regular interaction with Allstate agency owners was the #1 driver of customer satisfaction.
For example, let’s say a customer backs into his or her garage and damages the car and the home at the same time, and an on-site inspection is the best option. We will be able to send a single individual to settle both claims, saving customers time and effort, and allowing us to be more cost-efficient. In addition, the system gives our frontline team easy-to-use technology to manage their work while empowering them with the tools to create, move or cancel inspections for customers on site.
Convenient e-based reporting tools
New technologies make claims reporting even easier for customers. For instance, customers can file most auto claims by using our QuickFoto Claim® app (see sidebar story). This is especially useful when storms or other weather events have made roads to the customer’s house impassable. Allstate property claims adjusters are now equipped with iPads, making communications with customers and our cloud-based home office systems seamless, regardless of where they are. This approach provides customers who have damage to their home with the ability to document it via videoconferencing with a claims professional.
Responsible marketing communication
We strive to make our marketing materials and policies clear and relevant, so customers can make informed choices about the products they need. Wherever possible, we provide these materials electronically, to minimize our environmental impact and serve customers more effectively.
Data privacy and security
Keeping personal information secure at all times is fundamental to remaining a trusted business and employer. Not only is this the right thing to do, it is also mandated by increasingly stringent privacy laws in the states and countries where we do business. Personal information must be protected from unauthorized access and from disclosure by unauthorized parties.
To provide our customers with the best service and products for their needs, we may collect personal information such as their name, phone number, home and email addresses, driver’s license number, social security number, credit/debit card information, marital status, family member information, and health or medical information.
We also maintain records that include, but are not limited to, policy coverage, premiums and payment history. Finally, we may collect information from outside sources, such as a customer’s driving record or claims history.
Protecting privacy in Drivewise
Some of our customers have asked, in particular, about the information we collect via Drivewise, where we gather data electronically to evaluate customers’ driving behaviors. The only information customers share with Allstate is drawn directly from the vehicles’ on-board computers or through an application installed on the driver’s smartphone. The information that is used to calculate any Drivewise reward is available through the customer’s Drivewise website or mobile application.
We allow agency owners, call-center representatives and Drivewise Customer Service Team members access to a customer’s Drivewise website in order to better service customers who have questions about their performance and rewards. We use Drivewise data to calculate the driving performance rewards provided to customers. We also use this data to improve the Drivewise program and to develop and support additional programs and services made available to customers. Personally identifiable information is not collected from the Drivewise device.
How we protect customer data
We respect and protect all personal data by:
- Complying with all applicable privacy laws and company policies on privacy and information technology usage
- Communicating clearly how personal information is used, retained and disclosed
- Respecting and protecting the privacy of every individual’s personally identifiable information
- Embedding strong privacy-protection practices in all business processes and systems
- Using a secure site for accessing personal information electronically
- Never leaving personal information at or near workstations, and locking away any printed documents containing personal information
- Immediately contacting the Allstate i-Report Line at 1-800-706-9855 if we know or suspect that personal information has been accessed or disclosed inappropriately
- Disclosing personal data or other confidential business information only to those who have a valid business need to know, or as required by law
- Requiring that suppliers or business partners safeguard confidential consumer information and use it only to provide the requested services
- Disposing of documents containing personal information in a secure manner
Each quarter, we educate employees about our information security and privacy policies through training and resources. These materials are designed not only to share information security and privacy best practices, but to inform employees about the importance of being security-aware and protecting Allstate’s company and customer data. Data privacy and security courses are highly encouraged for all employees.
Allstate is continuing to explore new technologies and ideas to support its customers better. We are expanding our capabilities in online customer service—via e-insurance cards, e-signature, and electronically delivered documents and policies—to reduce paper waste and communicate with customers in the way they prefer. Where state law does not permit these faster, more convenient electronic forms of communication, we are working with insurance departments and legislatures to advocate for change.
We are also excited about the possibilities of emerging connected-home and connected-car technologies—and are working to incorporate them into current and future business strategies. In a pilot program this year, we equipped about 100 of our employees with smart-home monitors, which allowed them to remotely control heating and air conditioning, lighting and security. We hope to offer these tools to customers in the future.
Finally, we believe the implications of driverless-car technology will impact nearly every aspect of the automotive and insurance industries—from vehicle design and manufacture to accident prevention and liability law. We are staying at the forefront of these changes, as we have in the past with auto safety innovations like seatbelts, airbags and telematics, so that we can offer the benefit of our expertise to our customers.